Great thoughts about God will lead naturally to realistic thoughts about ourselves. We begin to realize how little we know, how uncertain and unpredictable life is, and consequently how little we’re actually in control of anything. We begin to see that we’re physically and spiritually frail and vulnerable, and that every second of our lives is lived at the good pleasure of God. As John Calvin wrote, “Man is never sufficiently touched and affected by the awareness of his lowly state until he has compared himself with God’s majesty.”
Such an awareness of ourselves is spiritually healthy. Few things block out our growth of fearing God as do feelings of self-righteousness and self-sufficiency. When we’re pleased with our goodness and confident of our abilities, we tend not to stand in awe of God. But when we’re shorn of our self-righteousness and stripped of sinful self-sufficiency, we’re in a position to fear Him.
—Jerry Bridges, The Joy of Fearing God, 131